Saturday, April 2, 2016

Film Review: Irrational Man (2015)

Copyright: Sony Pictures Classics
The talent of Woody Allen knows no limits. His film called Irrational Man is one of the best examples of his current creative period in which he apparently fell in love with simple and basic thrillers. Like Match Point, this film provides an uneasy, self-mocking feel that is rare and precious in Hollywood these days.

Here, Allen puts Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone to work, using them to create a plot where a distraught philosophy professor played by Phoenix arrives at a new college and begins to reevaluate his life through talks, sexual encounters and epiphanies about the nature of humanity. Along the way, murder also becomes involved.

The plot, like Allen’s direction, builds up an environment of intellectualism and an (undeserved) high quality of life, but also a vast and placid emptiness about the purpose of it all.

In Irrational Man, all the characters are looking for that something, completely oblivious to their incredible self-indulgence and a need to see themselves as someone who is living a righteous life according to the latest cultural norms.

While these traits block them in their attempts, they still ask for it, actually, demand it, no matter what or who might get hurt along the way. Internal monologues coming from the main actors go great justice to this concept and further enforce it.
But, because of their social class, eloquent rationalization and unapologetic and unconscious selfishness, others definitely get hurt in a range of ways. Allen shows how this need to put oneself in the center of the known universe is something corrosive and dangerous. In fact, the emotional weirdness combined with valid internal cognitive processes of the characters transform the film into a dark comedy about the toxic hunger of the modern western self-centered philosophy of life.

Towards the end, the audience gets entangled in the web of lies and explanation, settling into the position where it would not be that bad if everyone got punished for what they did and how they acted. This way, Woody Allen managed to create via a classic tale of crime and guilt, set in the modern world of convenience and ego-worshiping individual philosophies.